In addition to Jen Hatmaker beating me over the head with words of wisdom this past weekend, she also gave me a new word.  She used it to describe herself, and I have adopted it as my own:

Un-precious.

You know how there are those people who are so kind and thoughtful when they speak?  Every time you are around them, you just feel like a warm blanket has been wrapped around your shoulders and they stroke your hair by a fireplace and tell you great stories and wise words and sage advice?  Then they pour you a cup of tea and you have hour long conversations about books and current events?

Yeh.  I am not that person.

If you know me personally, you are probably laughing because you are whole-heartedly agreeing with me.

Instead, I am that person poking the fire with a stick yelling LOOK AT THIS GREAT FIRE I BUILT while doing a dance around it.  I am choking on the smoke and adding more logs to see how big I can make it, and possibly threatening to jump across it just to see if I can.  And I will ask you to wager a bet with me that I can.  And then, when the fire burns out, I have a horrible breakdown about the memories of the fire and how there will never be another one like it.

Yeh.  Not so calming.  Not so precious.

In coming to terms that I will probably never be your warm blanket friend, I recognize that I have some huge faults in my personality.

I am loud.  I was voted “Loudest” in my high school senior superlatives.  I am so loud, that I was the first person my classmates wrote down in a category on the voting sheets for said senior superlatives.  On a volume scale of 1-10, I am never really below a 7 – my 7 is a whisper.

And in being so loud, I am also pretty quick to speak.  I don’t have much of a filter.  I say things that are on the tip of my tongue.  I even usually post my first draft of a blog post.  Sometimes the things that come out of my mouth are funny.  Sometimes they are not.  Sometimes I mean them to be funny, and the person on the receiving end does not find it funny at all.

My mother describes me as blunt.  Mostly because I’m not scared or easily intimidated.  I even had a VP of a company say to me, “Are you not intimidated by me?”  I just smiled and said, “Not one bit!”  I’m not sure if that was such a great move, but oh well.

And I do that a lot.  I do things, and then I say “oh well” about them.  You don’t like it?  That’s not my problem.

I don’t get it right a lot of the time.  I am awkward and am probably the person who is going to ruin your nice photograph with a weird face, or point out that there’s a stain on your shirt that it turns out you are trying really hard to hide.  I will probably call you out on something in front of a large group of people, and I will let it be known that I do not put up with your crap.  I have deep, gutteral reactions to what is happening around me, and I cannot hide it.  I’m better left out of nice and proper situations.

I bog myself down with work and commitments.  Not that saying no is hard for me, but it is so much more fun for me to say yes.  I love to be involved.  I love to be in control.  I love being put in a leadership position.  Until I realize I have too many things on my plate and I give up on all of them.

Yes.  I love to be in control.  Things have to be a certain way, and I do not like for you to come behind me and “fix” them.  I’ve got it.  No need.  Don’t rearrange things, don’t put something in a new place, and don’t clean it up.  I will do it.  Eventually.

Because I am also a procrastinator.  I think this comes from my creative mind.  I like to put off menial tasks to tackle something much more fun and creative to do.  I would much rather put together an ad campaign at work than rifle through the stacks of paperwork begging me to file them for a week.  So sometimes, that paperwork comes back to bite me.

And then I’m overwhelmed.  It takes a lot to overwhelm me, but when I am overwhelmed, I do not handle it well.  There’s breakdowns and screaming and gnashing of teeth and tearing of sackcloth.  It took a while for my husband to recognize when this is about to happen, and he said those vile words that he has finally learned not to say to me: “Calm down.”  Because the answer is always and always, “NO I MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT DO YOU SEE THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AROUND ME THE WORLD IS DOOMED DOOMED DOOMED AND YOU ARE NOT HELPING ME IN THE LEAST BIT DO YOU EVEN DO ANYTHING ALL DAY.”

So he’s learned just to walk away.  I don’t blame him.  Sometimes I wish I could walk away from myself.

But I can’t.  So then I get really down on myself and chastise my inner person for being so difficult and horrible.  And then I cry.  And there’s whining.  And complaining.  And more drama.

When I was a child, this attitude was called spirited and spunky.  As a teenager, it was called strong-willed.  When I was a young adult, it was called quick witted and hilarious.  Now I am melodramatic and a bad example for my own children.

Or, for a new and better word – un-precious.

But these certain personality traits lead to good things sometimes, as horrible as they can be.  It means I am a take-charge person.  A girl that people look to for leadership and planning.  Someone who can make the whole room laugh and have fun.  A friend who is sought out for “blunt” advice and a quick call out on wrong-doing.  Someone who always has an idea and set of fresh eyes that can see right through a situation and get to the heart of it.  A person who is always willing to go and do and be a part.  A great protector of my friends and our love for each other.  Yes, I have told a friend’s boyfriend “If you hurt her, I will hunt you down and cut off your toes with a rusty knife.”

But I have to work really hard to maintain a sense of the other parts of me that are lacking.

When taking a spiritual gifts assessment, my talents will always be in leadership, teaching, planning, wisdom, and large group settings.  And I will always swing low in the areas of hospitality, compassion, and one-on-one time.

And bless those Fruits of the Spirit.  I was not gifted with those naturally.  There’s not a lot of patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  I have to pray really hard about those.  The meek will inherit the earth?  I hope I at least get a weed or a small pile of dirt.

So maybe me not being gifted naturally with compassion and kindness and meekness is just the way that God built me.  He can use me for greater things with what He did give me – leadership, honesty, and open-mindedness.  And then He will teach me great lessons through what I’m lacking – how to be more gentle with my children, how to be more patient with the world around me, and how to love my husband with a servant’s heart.

So while I may not be the best person to come to with your many struggles to talk over a quiet cup of tea, I am absolutely the friend to come to when you need an honest opinion.  Or to cut someone’s toes off.  I may not be exactly what my mother in law envisioned for her future daughter in law, but she knows I love her son with a fierceness that is unmatchable.  And while I may lose my temper around my children, they will grow up knowing they have a mother who fights for them.

I’m ok with being un-precious.  It’s the way I was made.  I was trusted with certain characteristics for a reason.

But I have a God who defines me not in terms like precious and un-precious.  He defines me as Katie, a woman made perfectly and wonderfully and fearfully in His image and a child who is dearly loved.  There is not one mistake in my personality, and there is not one flaw in my character.  I am who I am because I have a God who makes us each unique and with our own thoughts and dreams and ways of saying things.  A God who loves me so much, that He sent His Son to die for the sins I create out of my character.  A God who continues to love me, despite the dumb things that I say or the un-precious way I react.

So while I may be un-precious by nature, I know I am loved by God.  And that’s pretty precious.

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